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Five warming winter interior design ideas

As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, making our interiors as comforting, inviting and cosy as possible becomes the main focus. So, what better way to celebrate the season of togetherness and more time indoors than to reignite your love for your home with some warming winter design ideas?

Rather than following throwaway trends, I’m interested in incorporating easily interchangeable items and affordable ideas with longevity. With this in mind, here are five tips to transform your space this winter with minimal effort, expense and impact on the environment.

1. Dried floral arrangements

Lovely as fresh flowers are, they’re often not the most sustainable way to brighten up a room. Many are grown abroad and transported to the UK by air to extend their short lifespan. Dried flowers, meanwhile, will last for years rather than days with minimal maintenance – making them a much less wasteful option.

Small room lacking in natural light? No problem: direct sunlight only causes the colour of dried flowers to fade. Can’t commit to the regular watering schedule required by houseplants? Good news: dried flowers are happiest water-free.

For extra texture, colour and interest, choose a variety of plants for your dried display. Try adding grasses, seed heads and sculptural foliage to the traditional floral stems. Fellow Bristolian and talented florist Lucy Silverthorne creates the most beautiful dried flower designs, from bouquets to hoops, posy bottles and wreaths – and also runs workshops where you can have a go at making your own floral masterpiece.

Her popular dried flower hoops create a warming burst of natural colour. Plus, they’re super versatile. Hang one from a ribbon as statement wall art, use it to adorn your front door over Christmas, or place one around a glass hurricane lamp for a modern take on table decoration. Copper and silver tones make Lucy’s arrangements feel suitably festive, but not so much that they’ll look out of place once winter’s over.

2. Create an inviting reading corner

Curling up with a brilliant book while a wintry storm rages outside: is there anything better? Carve out a dedicated reading corner for yourself at home, and you can indulge in these moments of escapism whenever the mood takes you.

You can turn almost any corner of your house into a reading nook: all you need is a pocket-sized space, a seat, a light, and a ready supply of books.

To make your reading retreat extra cocoon-like, drape a soft throw over your chair and bring in a footstool so you can really stretch out and relax. If you’re lucky enough to have a window seat, make use of the storage to hold extra books, or, if your corner comes with a shelf or two, add visual interest with vertical and horizontal stacks of books and sculptural objects such as vases or candles.

Floor lamps can be positioned over an armchair to signify the reading space and perfectly illuminate the page once the daylight fades. Look for lamps with a moveable head or arm, such as an Anglepoise, for ultimate flexibility. Vintage Anglepoise lights often appear at fairs and car boot sales, too, so keep your eyes peeled to bag a bargain.

3. Incorporate colour and warmth through wall art

Adding art to the walls is one of my favourite ways to add personality to a room. Whether it’s a big, bold canvas, or a graphic print in an antique frame, art brings instant warmth and vibrancy – two things that are distinctly lacking at this time of year.

First things first, banish any anxieties you might have about the ‘right’ or most on-trend kind of art. Anything can be art if you want it to be – from a postcard to an illustrated matchbox, a painted plate or a surfboard.

Posters and prints are an easy, affordable way of switching up the look of a room. Opt for pieces with forest green nuances or warm, earthy and reddish hues for a nod to the season.

If you get bored, have a rehang: move the print that’s been above your fireplace to the wall behind your bed for an entirely new perspective. For maximum flexibility, lean your artworks on a sideboard or shelves (this is also a good idea if you’re renting, as it saves your walls from any damage and means the artwork is portable).

Insider info: Learn more about building a unique art collection in my interview with Claudia Kennaugh of art advisory, Art & People, here.

4. Build depth and texture with textile accessories

Plummeting temperatures call for cosy evenings on the sofa with plenty of plush blankets, textured textiles and plump cushions. Maximalist interiors fans can try mixing fabrics, prints, patterns and colours – from velvet to tapestry-style weaves. For those taking a more minimalist approach, build depth by combining different textures but keeping the palette pared-back and tonal.

The best thing about soft furnishings and accessories is that you can move them from room to room whenever you fancy a change. A wool blanket that works on the sofa for winter will liven up your guest bed come spring, for example. And, with wool being one of the oldest and most sustainable materials around (it’s recyclable, biodegradable and renewable, with naturally flame-resistant, water-repellent properties), it’s the perfect choice for an environmentally-friendly room refresh.

When shopping for soft furnishings, remember to look out for the little details: tassels, trims and hand-crafted elements will give an eclectic edge and add a more personal element to the overall effect.

5. Transform your space with softer lighting

Lighting can change the mood, look and feel of a room with the flick of a switch. And when there’s a chill in the air outdoors, a glowing interior feels all the more inviting.

To create a cosy scene, don’t rely on one overhead bulb. Instead, create pools of warm light around the room. From table lamps to floor lamps, a combination of softer lights is far more forgiving and creates a tranquil ambiance on dark evenings at home. Usually, three lamps of different heights should emit enough light to fill a room with a welcoming radiance.

Lampshades work hard even when unlit, adding a pop of colour and pattern to plain walls. You can even make your own bespoke lampshade in a fabric of your choice at one of my workshops – find out more here.

Or why not make a joyful occasion of the longer evenings by lighting candles? Candles are the original mood lighting, illuminating dark corners, mantelpieces, and windows. Avoid synthetically-scented varieties made from paraffin wax (a by-product of the fossil fuel industry), whose fumes can add to indoor air pollution. Instead, choose clean-burning, sustainable, natural wax candles scented only with pure essential oils.

Clich here to find out more about my Lampshade making workshop to create your very own handmade rolled edged drum lampshade.


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